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Ronni Van der Byl – Cancer Stories of Hope #CANSA90

Ronni Van der Byl

What type of cancer did you have?

Endometrial and neuroendocrine cancer.

What is your current cancer diagnosis?

Cancer free.

How long have you been living with that cancer?

Approximately 9 months.

How does living with cancer affect you in general in your day-to-day living?

Having been the primary carer during my husband’s battle with cancer six years ago, until he succumbed to it, this journey of mine has been an overwhelmingly emotional one. I’m still undergoing chemo, which is very challenging, both physically and emotionally.

Is there a family history of cancer? Please elaborate if yes.

My older sister had a partial mastectomy 25 years ago. She has had no further problems.

How have you or your loved ones been affected by you living with cancer?

I have three daughters who are still trying to recover from the loss of their dad. Hearing about my diagnosis, has been a very shocking time for them and my extended family. I try to concentrate on my healing and not on what has happened.

How has having cancer affected you during this time of COVID-19?

It’s been much more scary because of the fear of catching the virus, while my immune system is compromised.

What is your message to our government regarding the prevention, management and treatment of cancer?

I don’t really have a comment for a government that fails its people on so many other levels, as well.

What is your message to other people living with cancer?

Just take it one day at a time. Don’t take anything for granted. Nothing is guaranteed….but don’t give up.

Is pain a daily part of your life and how do you manage it?

No, as I had extensive surgery, which confirmed that my cancer was contained and successfully removed. Two CT scans and an MRI has confirmed my current condition. But I do have body pain for a few days after each chemo treatment.

How has CANSA supported you in your diagnosis?

I have been on the CANSA Caring for the Caregivers Facebook support group since my husband was diagnosed. Over the years, I’ve mentored several new widows who had reached out on that page. Some have become firm friends. Being part of that ‘family’ was an immeasurable support for me. I now also belong to the CANSA Survivors – Champions of Hope Facebook support group for cancer patients and loved ones.

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